A thoughtful driver waved me ahead this week. Other than the fact that I was turning left and she was going straight and we were both in the middle of Hennepin Avenue without a stop sign in sight, I would have been glad for such a kind gesture.
I’ve silently ranted about this issue for a couple of years now, but it’s only getting worse. What issue? Rules. In this instance, rules of the road. As far as I know, the person going straight goes first (unless it’s a four-way stop, but let’s not muddy the waters just now). A person making a right turn makes that turn unless the person opposite him has a green arrow, and then he needs to wait. Left is last. Left is always last.
But in the past several years, I cannot tell you the number of times a person opposite me at an intersection and going straight has waved me ahead when I’m turning left. This has happened with little cars and big cars and, yes, even a school bus.
The problem with an apparent lack of rules or rule-following or even knowledge of rules is that it leads to confusion. At intersections. And in life. If we don’t follow very basic rules or even know about them, we leave ourselves vulnerable to crashes. Some will be just fender benders, but others will have considerable consequences.
Being lackadaisical about very simple things; calling something by its proper name, using end punctuation, being honest about what happens when we add and subtract, following the rules of the road, staying on pitch if it’s at all within our power (okay, never mind about that last one – that’s just me rambling) eventually leads to a state of affairs where no one understands anyone else and logic is impotent because no one uses it. It reminds me of the Hindu teaching that all roads lead to heaven. They don’t.
So if you should see me at an intersection, I promise you that if I am going straight I expect to go first. If I am turning left, I will wait for you to go first. Let’s get out those basic building blocks of society so the road we travel is a safe one.